Blog: Counseling & Writing

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(307) 730-4793

December 9th, 2022

Welcome to my Blog

You're probably wondering why I'd include "writing" with "counseling." For me they are intertwined. My love for the humanities in my early college years eventually led me to become a counselor. I always thought I'd either be a writer, an english teacher, or a counselor. A deep desire to understand the human mind and behavior is only one aspect that lead me here. What really drew me toward this field was my desire to meaningfully connect with others one-on-one, just as I am able to do with a beloved character in a novel, or an author of a memoir who has triumphed over strife. I craved art, music, philosophy, and naturally, literature and composition, in community college, and still do. What happens in the therapy room often feels to me as powerful as what happens in an amazing piece of literature. In the therapy room people become brave. In fact, they are the bravest people I get to spend time with because they are willing to explore their pain and fears in order to heal so they can live courageous and meaningful lives. How on earth could I not be attracted to counseling? That would be like having no interest in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," or John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." In conclusion, as I see it, counseling is about examining our whole human selves and not just our mental health diagnosis or our mental illness with society's stigma attached. Isn't that what so much great literature is about too? We are much more complex than the labels or diagnoses we are given. And we want to be seen and understood just like your favorite fictional character or autobiographical writer.

December 12th, 2022

What is Counseling?

For me, there is no simple definition for counseling. It is a personal experience that has different meanings for different people. Some people come in for counseling who are looking for relief from their symptoms. Others come in to work on specific goals for personal enrichment and growth. Many come in unsure about what they really want to see change but feel the need to explore their thoughts, feelings, and relationship. Some people wait until they have reached a low level of functioning due to debilitating symptoms or unresolved painful life experiences. In my experience, these people often feel better just from unloading their burden for the first time on someone who will listen without judgement. If you decide to try counseling, remember it is your own personal experience and no one can define what it means to you. That is how and when the healing starts--when you take ownership of your own experience.


January 9th, 2023

On Social Activism

At some point in the earlier period of my career I had read that counselors are deeply concerned about social issues and want to contribute to social change. This is not surprising. Counselors are making a difference touching lives one at time in the therapy room. The counselor/client relationship is unlike any other, as one colleague of mine pointed out, "it is a sacred relationship." However, I do believe in many of us, there still remains a feeling of needing to do more. This is why many counselors do pro bono work, social work, and get involved in social issues at least on a local level. Perhaps, counselors are social activists at heart. One of my fantasies in my late twenties was to work for Amnesty International. Although I did not pursue a degree in human rights' law, I did become a member, starting out as a writer in their Freedom Writers Program then solely a modest donor. I will always be a member of AI because my heart is driven toward protecting human rights.

Though a counselor for almost 15 years, I still find myself needing to do more so I decided to write a book. That book is a fiction novel for middle grade and I am currently in my 5th year, revising and editing the manuscript with the help of a wonderful writing coach. This manuscript addresses multiple social issues including domestic violence, abandonment, bullying, racism, transphobia, and what a fellow-writer referred to as #MeToo when offering her feedback. It takes place in 1979 so the latter term did not exist but the story is indeed about #MeToo. One fellow writer, who meant well, suggested I pick only one or two issues because six heavy issues may be too much for the young reader. I have yet to follow her well-meaning advice because in our world today I see that children are quite aware of all these issues and many more. In addition, all important characters affected by these issues are related to each other either through family or close friendships.

Children are learning fast about their world and it is unfortunate much of it is coming from the web where they are often in an environment that doesn't provide loving support while they process disturbing material they just witnessed on the screen. What better place is there to help a child learn about social issues than through a book at home with a concerned and loving parent, or in the classroom with a socially conscious teacher? In conclusion, perhaps we are all social activists in some way or other. I like to believe we all want to live meaningful lives and we spend a great deal of time and hard work figuring that out. My hope is that this blog post has spoke to you about yourself and inspires you to seek your own meaningful path.

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Donna Andrus, LPC

Phone: (307) 730-4793

Fax: (307) 241-5166

125 East Pearl Avenue

2nd floor

Jackson, WY 83001

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